Which Social Media Platform Do I Choose?

Photo by ksantome
02.14.2012By

Photo by ksantome

We’re happy to have Robin Lane back here to guest post for us! Check out her last post: Facing Your Fear of Social Media.

So many choices, so little time. Today’s world has social media platforms a plenty. The problem is for most of us we are one person maneuvering and managing dozens of channels. So, how do you do it all? The simple answer: you don’t.

Not all social media platforms are created equal. Each outlet has a different audience with different objectives. It is important to understand the business potential and audience of each choice so you don’t force fit your campaign into the incorrect platform. Remember: square peg + square hole= success.

While there are multiple options, let’s start with the big three.

Facebook

Facebook has become the modern customer loyalty program. Businesses lure users in with promises of deals, discounts or special insider information, all in exchange for your email address. Dozens of email addresses add up to an impressive opt-in email marketing database to send future mailings.

While Facebook provides users with one main page for basic information, it offers the option to create multiple tabs. Organizations can easily create a simple membership or donation tab to allow users to easily join, donate, or get more information with a single click.

In addition, Facebook can help promote events. Create an event and invite your fans. Then ask them to share with their friends. Just like in high school, the big party will grow on its own and people you’ve never even met will show up to enjoy.

Twitter

Tweeting allows you to have a very informal conversation with some of today’s biggest names. How many times can you say, “Well, earlier I was tweeting with @Alyssa_Milano and she thinks…” and have it be real?

Twitter can be a great promotion vehicle when used in moderation. Find the biggest names in your industry, start conversations with them, and begin to raise awareness for your cause. You can follow policy makers to stay on top of issues and offer your opinions. But most of all, give yourself and your cause a personality. The more people you can get involved on Twitter the more likely your opinion and topic will be to get noticed.

Don’t forget to include links in all your informational tweets. You only have 140 characters, so link people to more information. Lead them back to your Facebook page or your website or wherever you want the web traffic to be directed.

LinkedIn

Where, oh where do I find others partners and leaders to connect with in a very professional fashion? Oh wait, LinkedIn.

The key word here is professional. The purpose of LinkedIn is to expand your business network and find new opportunities. This audience is looking to discuss business issues, get feedback and interact with others in the same situation.

Don’t jump in and start your own group, join other groups and get an idea of the landscape, then build a network that will help further your cause. Invite leaders of industry, potential partners, and other like-minded professionals to your group to get business advice and connections that will help further your goals.

While these platforms have shown their staying power, there are new platforms popping up each day. And, some of them have knocked even the big guys out of the high-traffic lead… yes Pinterest, I mean you.

Pinterest

With 11.7 million unique users, according to comScore, Pinterest has become the fastest growing site in history to break the 10 million unique visitor mark. In fact, the site has done more for referral traffic to retailers than LinkedIn, YouTube and Google+.

So, what can a highly-ranked site where you can create your “mission” in pictures do for you? With pinners declaring their style and products they love, the site, despite the recent controversy, has been praised for its impact on sales.

Pinterest is a site that flourishes from pictures, evoking emotions like “love” and “need,” why not “care?” Use it to impact your membership or increase donations. Grab a board and start pinning the pictures that tell your story!

While these are only a few ways to leverage different social media platforms, the key is in understanding each outlet’s audience. Identifying the most powerful use of each social media platform will not only prevent your head from exploding but may just increase the effectiveness of your campaign. Map out your major campaigns, determine the best platform for your desired results and then focus your efforts.

  • Unfortunately, most non-profits have limited staff and limited time. The staff want to dou00a0more and do better, but how should they decide? Who should decide?u00a0How do you create a need for one more platform?

    • Anonymous

      With limited resources, it is definitely about doing better, not necessarily more. Each platform has a different audience and benefit, and not all of them will work for your organization. The team should look at the goals and then decide which will help accomplish them. Then look at the available resources and see which you can take on and be successful. Really concentrate efforts on the platforms that will get the best results.

  • These are all great places to start. I love Pinterest and I wish I had a fun product so that I could test it out from a marketing stand point. Even just spending 15 minutes a day figuring out how to use these platforms and testing the water little by little will really pay off!u00a0

  • No Google+?? :)nIt seems Google+ is still in that undecided stage. u00a0I feel like if it didn’t the Google name and Google resources it would be done already, but something about it being Google keeps it just relevant enough.Robin, do you have any suggestions on G+?

    • Anonymous

      I think you are absolutely right. Google + had all of the promise but none of the punch;) For now, I wouldn’t suggest putting much effort (or any) into Google n+. It still holds promise as a social platform but not for business.nn** Side note: While all things Google seem charmed, here’s a fun infographic on some of the fails: http://www.wordstream.com/articles/google-failures-google-flops . nn